Now please don’t fall off your seats at my appearance in blog land. You know what they say, if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all, so I guess I kept my mouth shut! The wheels of expat life keep turning and before you know it months have passed and I cant believe the summer exodus is nearly upon us.
So in light of my somewhat triumphant return, I know you are dying to hear what profound insight I have for you in this post. Well it dawned on me that whilst the expat wheels do keep turning, the routine of life magically makes the days, weeks and months pass unnoticed. But things do change. Little changes, that almost sneak past you. Where you stop, smile to yourself and say “when did that happen?”
We all know that this life throws up some huge changes for us. How we adapt to the new location, even the “simple” task of logistically getting you, your family, sofa and dog to a new expat start, can be a huge adjustment for even the most seasoned of us. It seems to me that just as we are starting to get over one hurdle and settle in, we have the inevitability of goodbyes, as our transient sisters take flight. So I guess that I am always anticipating changes, that aren’t necessarily negative, but ones which wobble the feet just a little, that I sometimes forget there are little change gems scattered amongst them.
We are so busy finding our feet, that we can lose track of the fact that this new life, suddenly just becomes life. We are in it. Settled. It’s home. Now coming from my little island, where it gets almost laughable that everyone knows everyone, that I never thought I would replicate that bubble of human interaction. Blimey if Im really honest about it, there was part of me that was actually happy to not have my life scrutinised or hear that everyone knew I’d been on holiday, because mum had spoken to Mrs Le Maistre (only Beans will pronounce that correctly when reading this) in M&S, who told her daughter, who told her mate, who ended up working with my sister!
You get the 7 degrees of island life picture.
Having said that it does bring you some comfort and I Hubby still laughs when we board a plane to Jersey, that I will know someone but that’s the comfort of home right?
Little did I know or think, that this random corner of the Gulf would bring me a very similar sense of belonging. Now its only been 5 years, so I am still romanticising about that bubble and I suspect if I was here for any serious length of time it would drive me as nuts as Jersey did, but right now it raises a smile not a frown. I can’t pin point when the change happened but there was just one particular day when it hit me in the face hard. I left house as normal, wished a neighbor good morning and headed to the gym. My usual personal greeting there was welcomed and I quietly smiled to myself. Then in the changing room, I heard familiar dulcet tones of Scotland, which lead to a chat and a giggle with a friend. As I entered the gym, not entirely motivated to get my arse going, trainers, fellow members all say hello or engaged in a knowing nod of
“I see you everyday don’t know you but you’re crazy Italian man”
Mid sweat another friend runs past blowing kisses as she’s pounds the weight room, all the while I’m in my workout daze but thinking I have had another knowing interaction an I’ve only been up an hour. On my way home, I stop at my local coffee shop, I am waved at and welcomed by name and before I have got my money out my purse my usual drink is prepared and waiting. The short walk is accompanied by another internal smile, aided by caffeine, but also the realisation that THIS IS HOME.
All those little moments in the first few hours of my day, I am well and truly engrained in this life, part of the expat landscape. It is a really wonderful moment when you realise, this is living not existing like in those early days. I guess at times we just rush through our daily lives and don’t often stop and reflect. That one day made me sit up and realise that its not all adjustments, stress, getting settled, because when it clicks into place, it beautiful but you may not even notice.